Fresno Falcons photos

Fresno Falcons ECHL hockey

Passmorefan sent in this gallery of Fresno Falcons photos. Bowling night looks like it was a success. Many more Falcons photos can be found at fresnofalconshockey.com.

Submit your hockey photos to the Hockey Photo Project. There are photo categories for the NHL, NCAA, AHL, ECHL, CHL, and other hockey leagues as well.

The Fresno Falcons have picked up left winger Bobby Cunningham and traded defenseman Kevin Truelson for right winger Sam Ftorek in the last two weeks. For any NHL player still in the San Jose area, Fresno is only a 2+ hour drive South.

[Update] John Buccigross has a new column up comparing lyrics from the new U2 album to the NHL and NLPA. U2 should be legally forced to change their name so you can distinguish their good music from whatever it is they release now.

[Update2] Sharks prospect Jonathan Trembley gets a plug in this TSN article, the beat goes down.

Fellow rookie Jonathan Tremblay, 20, of Timmins, Ont., has also made a name for himself this season, sending his first two opponents to hospital this season.

[Update3] Torrey Mitchell, also a Sharks prospect, picked up a hat trick last week to help keep Vermont's 10 game unbeaten streak alive. Now he has been named player of the week by insidecollegehockey.com.

If you enjoy following the local ACHA club hockey teams on this website, give INCH's college hockey blog a look. It is an easy way to find out what is going on in the NCAA. The INCH blog is permanently linked under blogs on the right, and the INCH website is under prospects.

[Update4] Torrey Mitchell and Vermont also are covered in today's New York Times.


Shark Notes - SJ prospects update

- Sharks 2004 first round pick Lukas Kaspar has 10 goals and 12 assists in 22 games played for the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League. In a recent article on the official Sharks website, Kaspar talked about the biggest adjustment he had to make playing hockey in North America:

The rinks here are smaller, so everything is different. Here there is more hitting and in Czech you can play more with the puck. We can play four games in four nights, but I want the ice time. It is why I am here.

- Sharks 2003 first round pick Steve Bernier picked up player of the week honors from the Canadian Hockey League at the start of November. Bernier leads the Moncton Wildcats in scoring with 16 goals and 17 assists in 29 QMJHL games.

Hockeys Future writer Matt MacInnis interviewed Steve Bernier after a recent game with Shawinigan.

- Sharks 2003 2nd round draft pick Joshua Hennessey is tied for 5th overall in QMJHL scoring with 18 goals and 22 assists in 29 games played for the Quebec Remparts.

- On November 22nd and 23rd a team of Russian select players defeated Team QMJHL in the ADT Canada-Russia challenge. On consecutive nights, the QMJHL team lost 4-3 after a shootout. Team OHL won third game of the six game exhibition 3-1 with goaltender Ryan Munce [Sarnia Sting] making 25 saves on 26 shots. After one more game against the OHL Monday in Ontario, Team Russia will head to Alberta to face a team of Western Hockey League allstars December 1st and 2nd.

- Many writers have compared Cleveland Barons defenseman Josh Gorges to San Jose's Scott Hannan. There are similarities, but comparing prospects to NHL players has always bothered me. It sets unrealistic expectations that may or may not fit the player. I mention it in this case, because the Gorges-Hannan theme has popped up in over a dozen articles.

Josh Gorges was not on the radar of many scouts, but he has continued to impress at every level he has played. Although he was not selected in the 2002 NHL entry draft, Gorges helped the Rockets win a Memorial Cup championship in 2003-04, and helped the Team Canada win a silver in Finland during his first WJC tournament. What leads to all the comparisons is the fact that he works hard and leads by example both on and off the ice.

The Cleveland Plains Dealer has more on his first season with the AHL Cleveland Barons: No goals for Gorges, but he's making his point.

- Sharks goaltending prospect, 2004 4th round draft pick, and Sharkspage favorite Jason Churchill has recorded a 12-8-5 record [2.44GAA, .909sv%] with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The 6-4 200 pound goalie was named the Mooseheads Player of the Month for September. The consensus during the NHL entry draft framed Churchill as a rough prospect with a large upside.

- Another Sharkspage favorite, 6-4 245 pound Mike Hoffman, earned a spot on the Cleveland roster as a Right Wing.

- The Cleveland Barons are tied 1-1 for the season series with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. The Ohio team with the best head-to-head record at the end of the season wins the Labatt Blue Cup. First the Halifax Mooseheads, then the Labatt Cup. Molson has to have a hockey-related sponsorship or two. The Bud Light trophy goes to the NHL player with the best +/-, with a minimum of 60 games played. Spaten?

Sometimes beer and hockey do not mix.

- Back to prospects, remember Tero Maatta? The Sharks first selection in the 2000 draft [2nd round], is trying to help the Espoo Blues sneak into the last playoff spot in the Finnish Elite League.

- Sharks 2002 1st round draft pick, Mike Morris suffered a concussion on November 13th. Morris has 5 goals and 9 assists in 9 games played this season for Northeastern.

- I interviewed Sharks goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner earlier this year about his goaltending style, Germany in the World Cup, and about Sudbury's chances for a Memorial Cup this season.

[Q] How would you describe your style of play in net [standup, butterfly, combination..]?

[PE] I believe there isn't a specific style anymore, because one has to adopt as the game evolves and how it suits you best to stop the puck. This is a process of constantly evaluating your performance and trying to work to get better and if you don't have any specific style, it is probably easier to change a bit to solve an upcoming problem better. And this will change constantly, just think of the new rules they will implement to the goalies equipment in the near future, this again will force the goalies to change and try to make the best out of it.

- According to this article on Fox Sports detailing the performance of the top two picks from the draft from all 30 NHL teams, Sharks 2004 third round draft pick Thomas Greiss is playing with top ranked Kolner Haie of the German DEL. As mentioned in an earlier post, a German fan was right when he said Kolner was relying mainly on goaltender Chris Rogles. Thomas Greiss only has three starts on the season with 3.76 GAA and a .888 sv%.

David Pollak san jose mercury news

[Update] David Pollak of the SJ Mercury News was at the last SJSU hockey game in San Jose. He mentioned he was there following Sharks fans as much as he was watching the SJSU team play. Make sure to contact the Mercury News sports department and ask them to write more about hockey. During the lockout, I think they should send Victor Chi to Finland, Sweden, Germany or Russia to write features about international hockey.

This TSN report of a Canadian playing in Russia is the type of article I think Sharks fans would appreciate.

[Update2] Thanks to the CAL Bears, read this article last month by Ross McKeon: Midnight Madness with an Icy Twist. Nice photo gallery too.


SJSU loses first home game of the season, 4-3 to Eastern Washington

sjsu vs ewu

Two teams in the top half of the ACHA D2 West collided for the second straight night at the Logitech Ice Center. SJSU won the first 4-2, with an empty net goal sealing the game in the final seconds.

Tonight the momentum swung wildly from team to team. EWU scored first, and then SJSU came back and led for most of the game. Eastern Washington tied it up early in the third period, and then scored on a scramble in front of the net to make the score 4-3. They held off a determined SJSU to end the game.

sjsu vs ewu

sjsu vs ewu

The photo gallery from the game is coming soon. A flash and shooting from the bench made for some nice shots.

[Update] A. Sheldon has more on the 2 game SJSU series with Eastern Washington University over the weekend:

Spartan assistant coach Martin Moody said it’s been a merry-go-round of ups and downs for every team.

“This (loss) throws a big monkey wrench into the whole rankings because EWU beat Colorado and now they beat us, but we also beat them and USC who beat Utah State,” Moody said. “It will be interesting to see when the new rankings come out to see where everyone is when it all settles down.”

Even though the 4-3 loss to EWU was devastating for players and fans alike, SJSU can still boast an impressive record. The club has won 14 of their 17 games with the latest victory a 4-2 decision over the Eagles on Friday night.

That would be 14 wins, 1 OT loss, and 1 tie. Click here for the full article.

[Update2] Visit the SJSU hockey messageboard from Spartanthunder.com, or the ACHA D2 messageboard from Hockey101.com. Both of these links will be added to the SJSU page on this site.


Big Freeze update - Berkeley hangs on for a 4-3 win over Stanford

stanford vs Cal

Before the Stanford vs Cal big game today, the two schools faced off in a home-at-home hockey series Thursday and Friday night. Stanford won the opening round of the Big Freeze 4-1 in front of a large crowd at Berkeley Iceland. While 60+ members of the CAL band made it to the first game in Berkeley, the Stanford band was noticeably absent for the second game in Belmont.

The rink at Belmont Iceland is a little smaller than other local Bay area rinks. In addition to two rows of seating without protective netting, there is a row of booths along one side of the ice where you can watch the game.

Berkeley came out hard, and controlled the play early. Stanford has a much larger team than last season, and they were a lot more competive as a result. Both clubs had a good mix of speed, skill with the puck, and physical play.

Cal scored 4 goals in the first two periods, but Stanford scored a goal in the middle of the second to give Cardinal fans some hope. The ice tilted heavily in Stanford's favor in the final period. After putting two goals past the Cal goaltender, Stanford turned up the pressure with relentless scoring chances in the final minutes.

Cal hung on for a 4-3 win, and earned a split for the first two games of the Big Freeze. The two teams meet again in another home-at-home in February.

stanford vs Cal

stanford vs Cal

More pictures from the game are posted in the photo gallery.

[Update] JP wrote about the San Jose State vs Eastern Washington University game last night at the Logitech Ice Center:

The Spartans played their toughest opponant [EWU] at home tonight. The first period ended scoreless. The Spartans were up 3-0 in the third when the Spartans had 2 players in the box and gave up a goal playing 3 on 5. Then within a few minutes EWU scored again so we now had a tense game at 3-2. We took a penalty so it was a nail biter for 2 minutes. With 48 seconds left EWU pulled their goalie. It took a couple of faceoffs in our end to clear the puck only killing 7 or so seconds. Then we got the puck out of our end and got the empty net goal to secure the win.

[Update2] USCHO.com has more on the first game of the Big Freeze between Stanford and Cal, Hockey Ices Golden Bears 4-1.

Hockey and Skating magazine photo

hockey and skating magazine

Hockey and Skating Magazine gave a nice little plug to Bay Area and Southern California hockey in the December issue. I also recommend the feature H&S article on Scott Gomez playing for the ECHL Alaska Aces and representing the Latino community. H&S focuses on ice and skating events in California.

It is a shame the magazine is not online, but it available at every skating rink I have been to of late. You can contact them directly at 415-898-5414, or hockyskate[at]aol.com if you are interested in a subscription [$18/yr].


Went to a hockey arena, and 5 boxing matches broke out

San Jose native Jr Welterweight Jesse Curry

5 fights were held tonight at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. 3 matches ended in TKOs, and 2 ended by decision with 1 draw.

San Jose native Jesse Curry [pictured above], came out firing in the first bout of the evening. He hurt his opponent, Joe De La Cruz, several times in the first round. The first bell only prolonged the inevitable. Curry threw several rights and eventually pinned De La Cruz in a corner but could not put him away in the second round. De La Cruz was sent to the mat with 1:30 left in the third round. Jesse Curry pounded on the defenseless fighter until the referee stopped the fight shortly thereafter.

Sacramento native heavyweight Gilbert Martinez

The crowd became anxious in the ninth round. At a few points the fighters would react with a flurry of punches, but the pace has slowed considerably. I polled the 4 journalists at the media table I was at before the tenth round. 2 had the bout a draw, 2 had the fight slightly for Williams. The final three minutes started with a lot of clutching, but soon both picked it up and tried to land enough punches to eek out the round, and possibly the fight. It was that close. Williams landed three hard rights, and Gilbert Martinez countered with a left that staggered Williams back. Both boxers connected with huge blows in the final 30 seconds, but it was not enough to carry the fight.

One judge called the fight for each boxer, and the third called it a draw. The main event at the Miller Lite Fight Night at the Tank ended in a split-decision. Both fighters were disappointed, as were a few of the fans in the stands. Sherman "the Tank" Williams was visibly upset with the decision, Gilbert Martinez looked slightly more conciliatory.

The Miller Lite Fight Night championship belt remained in the hands of the rink girl, waiting for another title fight before it could be awarded. A few in the crowd started a tastes great, less filling chant as they filed out of the HP Pavilion towards the parking lot.

Read the full article here. Also take a look at the photo gallery from the final Miller Lite Fight Night at the Tank event of the year.

[Update] More on Jesse Curry from the Los Banos Enterprise.


Thursday night is Miller Lite Fight Night at the Tank

Miller lite fight night at the tank

Tonight, SVSE and Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing bring an interesting heavyweight bout to the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Sherman Williams has USBA and NABF title fights on his resume, vs Gilbert Martinez who has first-hand experience with heavyweights Michael Grant and Clifford Etienne.

The matchups: Heavyweights Sherman "the Tank" Willams [24-9-1, 13KOs] vs Gilbert Martinez [18-8-2, 7KOs], Ernesto Zavala [19-3-0, 8 KOs] vs Ernest “Too Slick” Johnson [15-1-0, 6KOs], Light Middleweights Sergio Rios [3-0-0, 2KOs] vs Alvaro Ayala [3-5], Female Welterweights Molly McConnell [2-0] vs Tracy Carlton [1-5-1], and Jesse Curry [1-1-0] of San Jose vs Joe De La Cruz [0-2-0] in a Jr. Middleweight matchup.

Visit millerlitefightnightatthetank.com, or the full November 18th fight card for more information about the event.

This week in Bay Area college hockey

The SJSU hockey club took to the road over the weekend, with matchups against tough Long Beach State, and 2 games against USC.

After fighting to a 3-1 loss earlier in San Jose, Long Beach State talked a little trash in the leadup to last Thursday night's game. Both teams are large, and are able to ice 4 lines, which is an issue for ACHA teams. SJSU headed into the game 11-1 on the season, 4th place in the West Division.

LBSU's talented goaltender, Mike Bergman, held off the Spartans in the first period. SJSU scored 2 goals in the second, but the flood gates opened in the third period. San Jose State picked up a win with a final score of 7-2.

The next night at Disney Ice in Anaheim, the Spartans skated to a hard fought 4-4 draw with USC. On Saturday, SJSU picked up a 3-2 win in overtime. Mason Nave, Lonny Lovins and Sean Scarbrough picked up goals.

Eastern Washington University is up next for the SJSU hockey club. The two teams play Friday [7:45PM], and Saturday [8:00PM]. Both games are at the north rink of the Logitech Ice Center in San Jose.

Click here for a list of all ACHA division 2 teams, or here for an updated schedule and a list of game results.

Cal Berkeley vs Stanford Big Freeze hockey

[Update] Cal vs Stanford play the The Big Freeze tonight and Friday. The home-at-home that almost overshadows the other big game takes place at Berkeley Ice [8:30PM] on Thursday night, and at Belmont Ice on Friday [8PM]. Visit calicehockey.com for more information.

[Update2] A. Sheldon writes up a review of the UC San Diego and Palmer College SJSU home games prior to their successful road trip. From the 6-2 win over UCSD:

The UC San Diego Tritons were saved by the buzzer. The game ended before the San Jose State University Spartans could pelt the UCSD’s netminder with the puck for the 60th time during the 60-minute match Friday night at San Jose’s Logitech Ice Center.

SJSU goaltender Ryan Lowe had to make a comparatively minimal number of saves throughout the game. The Tritons tallied just 17 shots on goal for the evening, one more than the number the Triton goalie faced in the first period alone.

From the 12-6 win over Palmer College:

The First ACHA Western Region rankings were revealed on Saturday, November 6th. Of the 32 teams listed in the west the San Jose State University Spartans were dropped in the number 4 slot behind Colorado State, University of Colorado and Utah State...

With the rankings revealed, later that night at Logitech Ice Center, the Spartans opted to play against Palmer College, even though the Pride padded their decimated roster with 5 alumni, therefore technically providing SJSU with an automatic victory regardless of the outcome.

Once again the Spartans put 12 pucks behind the Pride’s netminder and the revamped Palmer offense managed just one more tally this time around.

Click here for the full article.

[Update3] From SJSU captain #4 Ray Kellam:

#9 ranked Eastern Washington just upset #2 seed University of Colorado 3-2 this past weekend. If anyone remembers last years games against these guys, its going to be another war.

Friday night SJSU vs EW 7:45pm @ Logitech (North rink), Saturday night SJSU vs EW 8:00pm @ Logitech (North rink).

Bonus Cleveland Barons - Edmonton Roadrunners photos

Edmonton Roadrunners goaltender Tyler Moss

Cleveland Barons captain Matt Carkner

Cleveland Barons defenseman Christian Ehrhoff

With the prospects of an NHL season dwindling each week, here are a few bonus photos from the Edmonton Roadrunners 2-0 win over Cleveland Barons in San Jose Nov 9th. These photos have been added to the Cleveland-Edmonton photo gallery. A few also made the Edmonton Roadrunners weekly newsletter.

Current Blackhawk and former Shark Curtis Brown signed a lockout contract with the ECHL San Diego Gulls. The San Diego Gulls play against the Fresno Falcons in Fresno [7PM] Nov 20th.

Scott Gomez of the New Jersey Devils currently has 1 goal and 6 assists in 10 games with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. Alaska makes another brief stop in California in mid-December, but they play a number of Californian ECHL teams in March. Click here for the Alaska-Fresno photo gallery from Nov 2nd.

[Note] That photo-of-the-week on the Alaska Aces website looks amazing [just kidding, actually it is kind of green]. Thanks to Angela for sending in an email to point it out. There is also another photo for this article: Aubry the difference as Aces sweep Falcons.

The AHL Cleveland Barons picked up 2 straight wins after losing to Edmonton in San Jose. The Barons play tonight against the Houston Aeros. The Cleveland Plains Dealer features goaltender Nolan Schaefer rising to the challenge.


Down time - a note from Sharkspage

Sharkspage was down for a week. Last week my laptop lost a hard drive, I had the flu, and this Tuesday my desktop also lost a hard drive. Fortunately I was able to recover and backup everything on my desktop.

Thanks go out to the readers who donated over the weekend to help keep this site going. One reader donated $50, and two donated $5. Fans are also still buying hockey items with the links on this site. Look for those items to be updated shortly. Every little bit helps.

This sb600 flash should help brighten the college hockey games I photograph, and this 28-200 lens is up next. It should greatly improve the quality of photos posted in the galleries. Opinions, articles, thoughts and links are also welcome anytime. Submit them here.

Thanks again.


Hockey Notes

- Sharks defenseman Tom Preissing is skating with Team USA in the 2004 Deutschland Cup in Germany. USA defeated Germany Wednesday 5-1, and lost to Team Canada Thursday 5-3. Preissing picked up a goal and an assist in the win.

- Canadian and Canadien hockey icon Jean Beliveau was recently quoted by the Montreal Gazette:

They're making a big mistake, a terrible mistake. I've always sided with the players in the past but this time I really believe they're completely wrong. I'm sad to see that players don't seem to believe that 20 or 22 franchises are in deep financial trouble. No business can operate with 75 per cent of its total revenue going to the salary budget.

Some players say they want to give back to those who will follow them. I can speak for players of my generation, who really had the game in mind. When we left hockey, it was in great shape. Those who follow today's players will face a very serious situation because the game will be in very bad shape, financially and otherwise.

Current Colorado Avalanche forward Vincent Damphousse responds in Montreal's La Presse:

It's not the players who put hockey in trouble. The owners say that themselves. They're the ones who made bad decisions and who lacked discipline. We negotiate our contracts, but the owners set the budgets. And when contracts are signed, both sides seem happy.

People seem to forget that we're aware of the problem and we want to improve things. We have made concessions since the beginning.

The players did make significant concessions, although it was reported that the second offer made by the players association was actually less substantial than the first. I think the general perception is that the league is in serious trouble over and above any actions taken by the owners. The players association needs to acknowledge that outright before any negotiations can begin in earnest.

- If you want a change from the usual local and national hockey reporting, give Jes Golbez blog a read. Read his reports on Slovak and Czech hockey and keep scrolling. A friend said recently that hockey is cold, blogging is hot. If the teams want to reach out to young fans, eventually they are going to discover hockey blogs. Put Jes's blog at the top of the list.

- Speaking of blogging, last weekend I thought I would make the long trip to Stanford and attend the Bloggercon tech conference. The sessions were full of current and former mainstream journalists from CNN, BBC, CBS, a former MTV VJ, software developers of all shapes and sizes, and regular bloggers like myself. It was kind of funny to mix one hockey blog in with all the tech blogs, financial blogs, political and campaign blogs, mobile bloggers [moblogs], photoblogs, podcasters [dont ask me], and assorted digital literati. But all of these blogs run into the same kinds of issues. The most interesting discussion for me centered around the difference between hard news, analysis, and opinion-based reporting.

- It is not related to hockey, but read this Offwing interview with Bay Area soccer star Brandi Chastain.

- According to Vodkafish, the Russian Superleague is competitive on the ice as well as with the paychecks.

- From Canucks Corner, the new Forbes NHL economic report is out. Forbes estimates the percentage of player salaries to be 66% of revenues, instead of the 75% referenced by the league.

- Interesting fan photo galleries from the Cleveland-Edmonton game in SJ: mage23, JP, and friesn2ho. [and one from Fresno]

- Sharks prospect Glenn Olson has been assigned from Cleveland to the Fresno Falcons of the ECHL. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had 126 penalty minutes in 41 games for Kootenay of the WHL last season.

- According to the official Sharks website, fans donated 5,977 pounds of food and $1,500 Tuesday night to the Second Harvest food bank.


One game, two opinions

HP Pavilion in San Jose

The sometimes humorous, sometimes vacuous Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle ripped the Sharks yesterday in a feature column for ESPN. His experience at the Cleveland Barons game in San Jose could not have been more different than my own. Sharkspage blogs, you decide.

Click here for my full Ratto critique.


Edmonton Road Runners shutout Cleveland Barons 2-0 in San Jose

Tyler Moss

Edmonton Road Runners goaltender Tyler Moss made 33 saves in a shutout win over the Cleveland Barons Tuesday night. Mathieu Roy scored an unassisted goal off a deflection in the first period for Edmonton. The Road Runners capitalized on a tentative start by the Barons, killing 2 first period Cleveland power plays and holding them scoreless for the period.

Raffi Torres played 80 NHL games for the Oilers last season, scoring 20 goals and 14 assists. In the second period, Raffi scored for the Road Runners with an assist by Brad Winchester. The win put Edmonton in sole possesion of first place, 2 points ahead of Manitoba in the AHL North division.

Dimitri Patzold

Dimitri Patzold

Barons goaltender Dimitri Patzold made 23 saves on 25 shots. Cleveland was unable to convert on a 5 minute power play late in the game, despite putting 19 shots on goal in the third period [one off the post]. The Barons were 0-for-8 on the power play for the night. Sharks alumni Marcel Goc, Christian Ehrhoff and Jim Fahey were held without a point.

The AHL game at the HP Pavilion drew 11,784 fans happy to watch hockey, unhappy it was not the San Jose Sharks.

Click here for the photo gallery from the game.

Visit clevelandbarons.net, or edmontonroadrunners.com for more information.

[Update] The SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury, and Oakland Tribune file their "hockey is back in San Jose" articles. Bittersweet is the best way to describe the local coverage.

[Update2] The AHL is experimenting with rule changes to increase offense, and to make the games more entertaining overall. The NHL will watch the effect closely. The AHL rule changes according to the Cleveland Barons are:

1. If teams are still tied after a 5 minute 4-on-4 overtime period, the game will be decided by a shootout.

2. Players do not have to wait until the puck clears the offensive zone to "tag up" and negate offsides.

3. Icing will be called and played stopped once the puck crosses the blueline [No-touch icing].

4. The blue lines and red line will be increased from 12 to 24 inches, increasing space in the neutral zone.

5. Goal lines will be moved in from 13 feet to 11 feet, increasing space in the neutral zone.

6. The AHL created a trapezoid-shaped area around the goaltenders crease were they are allowed to play the puck. Playing the puck outside this area will result in a minor penalty. This rule change was only scheduled for the first 7 weeks of the season, to be re-evaluated after.

7. Goaltender leg pads are now reduced from 12 to 10 inches.

This is an interesting set of rule changes, but I am not sure all of them will help improve either the AHL or NHL game. A shootout loss is only slightly better than a tie, but limiting the size of the goaltender leg pads will improve scoring. The NHLPA will declare this another form of a salary cap and not allow it in the NHL.

Tag-up offsides, widening the lines, and moving back the nets are minor changes that will benefit the flow of the game, but no-touch icing is a bad idea. Marco Sturm suffered a horrible injury on this type of play, but this is not the solution. Implement a rule where you can not hit a player more than a second after he touches the puck. Implement a rule that says if you take a stride after a player touches the puck and still hit him, it is a 2 minute minor penalty starting in the opposite zone.

If a goaltender plays the puck outside of the crease, he is fair game. Period. This is not the NFL, Martin Brodeur should not be treated like a quarterback. If you take too many risks out of the game, the NHL will become flag football.

[Update3] View sample NHL footage from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s from NHLhockeyarchive.com. Here is a free tip for any business using television advertising in an NHL community. Buy a clip from the hockey archive, cut together a short 25 second highlight, and fade out with a black screen that has the following message: brought to you by [your company].


Goalie warmup photos - 11/09/04

Dimitri Patzold

Nolan Schaefer

Tyler Moss

Jeff Deslauriers


The Cleveland Barons host the Edmonton Road Runners in San Jose

Cleveland Barons Edmonton Road Runners AHL hockey

The AHL Cleveland Barons play the Edmonton Road Runners 7:30 PM Tuesday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. At 4-5-1-2, Cleveland is in last place in the North Division, a point behind the Syracuse Crunch. At 7-3-2-1, Edmonton is tied with the Manitoba Moose for the North Division lead.

Marcel Goc leads the Barons with 7 goals and 5 assists in 11 games. Christian Ehrhoff has 3 goals and 4 assists in 11 games. Dimitri Patzold [2.29 GAA, .930 sv%] is 6-1-1 in net, with Nolan Schaefer [5.01 GAA, .852 sv%] recording an 0-5 record.

David Pollak of the Mercury News looks into the AHL rule changes this season. Craig Haueter at the Feeder looks at a rough week for the Cleveland Barons. Jamie Smock will host the Cleveland Barons audio broadcast online here.

The Sharks are asking fans to bring non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank.


Alaska Aces down Fresno 2-1, Scott Gomez picks up an assist

Alaska Aces Fresno Falcons ECHL hockey

The ECHL Fresno Falcons lost to the Alaska Aces 2-1 Saturday Night. Click here for the photo gallery.

Alaska right wing Chris Minard [#14] scored the game winning goal in the second period up high over the shoulder of Fresno goaltender Simon Lajeunesse. Earlier in the game, Derek Krestanovich [#11] threw the puck in front of the net looking for David Brisson. The puck deflected off of an Alaska defenseman for Krestanovich's second goal of the season. Scott Gomez [#23] picked up an assist on the first goal of the game from Mike Scott.

The Fresno Falcons tried furiously to even the score in the final minutes. One shot hit the right post, and two narrowly dribbled wide of the net.

The 2-year-old Savemart Center in Fresno is an impressive building. You have a clear line of sight from anywhere in the stands, and the amenities rival many NHL arenas. Another Sharks affiliate, the AHL Cleveland Barons, play at the HP Pavilion in San Jose Tuesday.

Fan reaction over Scott Gomez taking an ECHL roster spot is misplaced. According to ESPN, Anchorage Aces GM Davis Payne increased the roster from 20 to 21 players at the request of Gomez and his father.

More from Devilsrule.com:

The Aces will pay Gomez a salary of $500 per week -- a mere fraction of his Devils Salary ($1 million for 2003-2004 & contracted for $2.9 million for 2004-2005). However, that is just part of the financial story. The ECHL requires NHL players to pay for disability/career-ending insurance -- which Gomez did -- $25,000 for the policy. Add it up, and that $500 paycheck won't even pay for the insurance policy.

Visit the Alaskaaces.com or Fresnofalcons.com for more information on each team.

Alaska Aces Scott Gomez New Jersey Devils

Fresno Falcons

Scott Gomez sparks Aces to victory - Fresno Bee.

NHL fallout - Trickle-down effect felt from Europe to Fresno - SJ Mercury.


San Jose State 6, UC San Diego 2

San Jose State UC San Diego hockey

SJSU forward Kelly Spain [#23] scored a hat trick in a 6-2 win over the UC San Diego Tritons hockey club. Adam Dekeyral [#10] and Michael Villalobos [#5] also scored goals for San Jose. Kevin Ozonian [#19] scored for UCSD.

Goaltender Ryan Lowe [#33] picked up the win. SJSU has a 10-1 record for the season.

The refs threw whole forward lines into the penalty box late in the third period to try to keep the game from losing control. After that did not work, players were sent to the locker room in bulk. San Jose plays Palmer college Saturday at 8 PM.

The SJSU vs UCSD photo gallery is here.

Fresno Falcons on the Front page

The San Jose Mercury News ran a feature length article on the NHL lockout and the ECHL Fresno Falcons yesterday: NHL fallout - Trickle-down effect felt from Europe to Fresno.

David Pollak covers a lot of issues from the strife over locked out NHL players taking jobs, forward Shaun Sutter [son of Chicago coach Brian Sutter] playing for Fresno, the level of play in the ECHL, NHL replacement players, ECHL rule changes that might be adopted by the NHL, and the Fresno Falcons losing money without solid attendance.

There was one issue raised in the article that did not really sit well with me. While NHL-caliber players have been a boon for leagues from Russia to Sweden to the AHL, some players and fans object to the jobs they are taking from other athletes. While I agree that taking jobs from European or North American players raises issues, Scott Gomez playing for the Anchorage Aces does not fall into this category for 4 reasons.

1. Scott Gomez is playing in front of his hometown Alaskan fans. This not only benefits the Anchorage team, but also the community as well. From the kids strapping on skates to be the next #23, the locals checking box scores for the first time, to the fans breaking 18 hours of darkness in the winter to catch a game, playing for local Alaskan fans is different than a Canadian getting a hefty paycheck in Russia while waiting out the negotiations.

2. According to this ESPN article, Scott and his father made sure that he did not take a roster spot from another player. The Anchorage Aces GM Davis Payne increased the roster from 20 to 21 players just to accommodate this wish.

3. Scott Gomez is playing for the same $500-a-week salary as the rest of the team.

4. Just 2 years ago, the owner of the Anchorage Aces put the hockey team for sale on EBAY. The Aces filed for bankruptcy and were $2 million in debt. After Gomez signed with Anchorage, they sold 250 tickets for the next game and 25 season tickets according to the Associated Press. One Falcons player in the Mercury news article asked what Scott Gomez had left to prove in the ECHL. I would say helping the bottom line of the only professional hockey team in your home state without taking away a roster spot is something to prove.

End the lockout.


Wave Magazine - Editors pick South Bay hockey

The Wave Magazine posted this blurb about local hockey along with their South Bay event recommendations. It appears on page 14 of the November 3-16 issue. They used my photo of San Jose State goaltender #33 Ryan Lowe.

Wave Magazine local hockey

Visit the Wave Magazine at www.thewavemag.com. The official San Jose State website must have been down when they went to print, you can find it at www.sjsuhockey.com. Palmer Chiropractic College also plays in the South Bay and calls Logitech home.

Berkeley plays three home games this weekend: Thursday against Oregon [8:45 PM], Friday against UW [10:45 PM], and Saturday against UW [10:45 PM]. The next SJSU home game is Friday night [7:45 PM] at Logitech against UC San Diego, with a followup Palmer College game Saturday [8:15 PM].

Fresno Falcons open ECHL season

Fresno Falcons ECHL photo Don Davis

The Fresno Falcons opened their 2004-05 season against Las Vegas October 22nd. They started the second season in the new $100+ million Savemart Center, and as the San Jose Sharks affiliate in the ECHL.

The Fresno Falcons have a long and varied history as a hockey franchise in Northern California. From the Fresno Falcons history page, used with permission:

Previous chapters include eight years in the West Coast Hockey League, preceded by more than 25 years in the Cal-Neva Hockey and Pacific Southwest Hockey Leagues. Surprisingly, though, the entire legacy of the Fresno Falcons stretches back to the team’s home opener at Fresno Ice Arena against the Pacific Coast Hockey League defending champion Oakland Oaks on October 26, 1946.

The Falcons spent four seasons in the PCHL, capturing the Southern Division crown in 1948-49, only to lose in the first round of the Henderson Cup Playoffs. In the summer of 1950, Fresno withdrew from the league, which folded a year later. The PCHL saw a brief one-year resurrection during the 1952-53 campaign. The Falcons captured the Gordon Petrie Trophy and their first championship with an 11-3 rout of the San Bernardino Braves.

Without a doubt, though, the Falcons’ most memorable time from its days in the WCHL was the 2001-02 season. [Fresno defeated San Diego to reach the Taylor Cup finals. In game 6 against the Idaho Steelheads, Kris Porter scored in double overtime to give the Falcons the Taylor Cup title.]

Fresno opened this year with a tough 5-1 loss against the Las Vegas Wranglers. The Falcons took 11 total penalties and allowed 3 first period goals to put themselves behind the eight ball. A second bad start and a record setting swath of penalties contributed to a 7-2 loss against the San Diego Gulls in San Diego.

The first Canadian-based team to play in the 17 year old ECHL was up next for Fresno. The Victoria Salmon Kings picked up their first win, 5-0 against the Falcons. The Victoria Salmon Kings has to be one of my favorite franchise names of alltime.

After starting the season 0-3, the Fresno Falcons GM Blaine Moore released backup goaltender Mike Betz, signed rookie goaltender Brett Jaeger, and acquired forwards Lanny Gare and David Brisson.

The Falcons battled the defending ECHL Kelly Cup Champion Idaho Steelheads in a three game series last weekend at the Savemart Center. Fresno picked up their first win Saturday sandwiched by losses on Friday and Sunday.

[Update] 2-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Gomez scored a shootout goal and picked up an assist in his first game with the Anchorage Aces of the ECHL. Anchorage plays the Falcons in Fresno Friday and Saturday night. Both games start at 7 PM. [Note: another EBAY success story].

[Update2] Scott Gomez enjoying hockey at home.


Believe in the power of the Rally Monkey

rally monkey NHL lockout solution

On a day when the NHLPA expresses its resolve to remain vigilant against the powers that be. On a day when the NHL commissioner hints that the end of the season is neigh. On a day when the 2004-2005 NHL allstar game in Atlanta is cancelled. On my birthday, I think it is time to believe in the power of the rally monkey.

Not to be confused with the titi monkey.